The 1st Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Bengaluru on Tuesday reserved the judgement on mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy's bail application, after he was arrested on Sunday in connection with a money laundering and bribery case. The court will pronounce its judgment on the bail plea on Wednesday – however, the judge came down heavily on the Central Crime Branch, investigating the case, reprimanding them for ‘digressing’.
The court questioned the CCB on whether there were any complaints against Janardhana Reddy in connection with Ambidant's alleged ponzi scam. "Are there any complaints against Janardhana Reddy who is A6? Of the 1500-odd complaints against Ambidant, do any of them mention Janardhana Reddy directly? Were the charges against him filed merely on the statement of accused number 1? Instead of acting on complaints, you are digressing the case," Justice Jagadish stated.
Janardhana Reddy who had absconded for two days after an FIR was registered against him in a money laundering and bribery case, showed up at the Central Crime Branch office on Saturday for questioning. After 11 hours of interrogation, Janardhana Reddy was taken to the home of a judge by the CCB on Sunday morning, where a warrant was signed for his arrest.
Reddy was booked under sections 204 (destruction of evidence), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, and multiple sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. He was later taken to the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison after being remanded to judicial custody by the magistrate till November 24.
Soon after Reddy's involvement was suspected in a Rs 300 crore scam allegedly perpetrated by Bengaluru-based Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd, the mining baron had disappeared for two days, with the CCB sending out four teams to search for him. The teams raided his home in Bengaluru, Ballari and also his company, the Obulapuram Mining Company.
The police have accused Gali Janardhana Reddy of taking Rs 20 crore from the owner of Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd Syed Ahmed Fareed in order to strike a deal with Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials to drop the case they were investigating against Ambidant.
A CCB source told TNM that Syed Ahmed Fareed allegedly confessed to giving Janardhana Reddy Rs 20 crore – Rs 2 crore in cash and 57 kg of gold bullion worth Rs 18 crore – by laundering it through two jewellery firms.
The source said that Syed Fareed was under the police lens for allegedly cheating hundreds of investors after promising them massive returns and then reneged. “It was during his interrogation that Syed confessed to ADGP Alok Kumar, who learnt that he had paid Janardhana Reddy. The CCB officers are now looking for the gold and hence they are searching Reddy’s house in Ballari,” the source added.
The CCB has also arrested Janardhana Reddy's personal secretary Ali Khan, who is the suspected middle man in the alleged illegal transactions. He, too, has been remanded to judicial custody along with Reddy.
Syed Fareed is the founder of Ambidant company in Bengaluru, which duped thousands of people with the promise of bountiful returns. The total scam has been pegged by city crime branch at around Rs 600 crore and a total of 21 cases have been filed since 2017.
Much before Fareed courted arrest with city police, the company was raided by the Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate. After his property was attached, Fareed had approached Ali Khan, an associate of Reddy.
Police also confirmed media reports which said Fareed with his son Ashfaq had met Ali and Reddy at the Taj West End in Bengaluru hotel in March and the 'deal' was done to “settle the case.”
CCB sources say that during Reddy's interrogation, the mining baron allegedly remained tight-lipped about his involvement with Ambidant and is said to have denied owning any shares in the company.